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Trump: FBI's Reputation Is In Tatters, Worst In History; Silicon Valley Faces Harassment Scandals; Trump Accuser Speaks Out About Harassment Allegations. Aired 7:30-8a ET
Aired December 4, 2017 - 07:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[07:33:30] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump going on the attack, this time against the FBI in a series of tweets. He's saying the Bureau's reputation is in tatters. That it's the worst in history.
Joining us now is former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Good to have you, sir,
ALBERTO GONZALES, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL, FORMER COUNSEL TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH, DEAN, BELMONT UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF LAW: Chris, it's good to be with you.
CUOMO: Is the FBI in tatters?
GONZALES: Well, you know, I think certainly, the president's the head of the Executive Branch and is entitled to his opinion but I felt that his words were unfortunate.
You know, the actions of one agent cannot tarnish the reputation of the FBI any more than the actions of one individual during the transition or in the White House can tarnish, necessarily, the reputation of the White House.
And so, from my perspective, from my experience, the FBI is composed of men and women of extraordinary talents and dedication and as far as I can tell, that continues today.
And again, I think that the comments from the president were unfortunate. If the president or the White House has concerns or complaints about the work of any agency -- any department -- then those concerns are best handled privately and hopefully, those are resolved privately.
CUOMO: Unfortunate, why? What do you think the effect is of these words and do you think that the attorney general and the head of the FBI have a duty to come out and say what you're saying?
GONZALES: Well, I don't know whether or not they have a duty to directly contradict the president. Again, the president is head of the Executive Branch and is certainly entitled to express his opinion.
But the attorney general -- nothing prevents the attorney general, I think, or the head of the FBI to come out and talk about the great work that the department and the FBI is doing. And if -- and if the White House believes that they should be doing things better, then express dedication to doing a better job.
[07:35:15] But, you know, I think that directly contradicting the president -- I think you could express support for the FBI without directly contradicting the president or taking the president on directly.
CUOMO: The president tweets that he had to fire Flynn because he lied to the FBI. That is being taken as an assumption that the president knew he lied to the FBI when he asked Comey to see his way clear to ending the probe on Flynn.
Is that troubling to you?
GONZALES: It does raise questions, and I think it raises questions that, unfortunately, it's sort of a self-inflicted wound. It just raises additional questions about what actually transpired here.
And again, I think -- you and I have had this discussion before in the past. I think sometimes these tweets by the -- from the president's account, whether or not directly from the president or not, has created problems for the White House.
And I think that I agree with many people -- certainly, former officials who question the wisdom of the continuous tweeting without any kind of -- you know, any kind of review or any -- more consideration about the effects of these tweets which creates problems for the White House going forward.
CUOMO: Well, on this one, the problem might be too much truth for the former attorney general because if it is true that he knew that he had lied, why does it matter?
Here's why it matters. If it's true, it would be a suggestion that the President of the United States asked the head of the FBI to stop an investigation even though he knew that there had been a violation of the law. And that would be a different analysis on obstruction of justice than if he did not know that there had been any violation of law.
GONZALES: Well, that's certainly a fair point and that will be a question that Bob Mueller will attempt to answer to ascertain whether or not there was corrupt intent which is required under the law for obstruction of justice.
You know, one thing we have to remember, of course, is that Donald Trump did not order Jim Comey to fire -- I mean, did not order Jim Comey to drop the investigation. He made an inquiry or suggestion or a question as to whether or not can't you see yourself letting this investigation cease with respect to Mr. Flynn.
So whether or not we have obstruction of justice here, I think there's still questions that have to be answered and that's going to be the work of Bob Mueller and his team.
CUOMO: No question. We're going to have to see what the special counsel comes up with on this.
So, the president, this morning in two separate tweets, appears to have endorsed Roy Moore and it seems to come down to a very simple political calculus. They need the seat to get these votes done even if they're going to do it with simple majorities through reconciliation rules.
What do you make of making the priority the seat even though there are these allegations against Roy Moore?
GONZALES: Listen, I can only approach this from the perspective of the potential voter because that's all I am today, is a private citizen.
I don't think based on what I know in the public record that I would vote for Roy Moore for the Senate seat. But ultimately, this is a -- this is a decision for the voters of Alabama. I don't think that I would vote for Doug Jones, but I'm not sure that I would vote -- that I would vote for Roy Moore simply because there are a lot of answered questions in my mind.
And if I were in Alabama and I were voting in this election, before voting I would try to do as much due diligence as I could to try to ascertain, you know, the merits of these allegations. But based on what I -- based on what I know today, I'm not -- I don't think I would feel comfortable voting for Roy Moore for this Alabama seat. But I don't think I would vote for Doug Jones, either.
CUOMO: Understood, but while it is certainly the choice of the Alabama voter -- I mean, I don't think anybody questions that -- don't you think it's the duty of elected leaders, certainly at the federal level, to weigh in on matters of this type of importance.
GONZALES: You know, that's a -- that's a very hard question, Chris. You know, a duty of the elected leaders is to weigh in on this kind of question. You know, the voters of Alabama are -- have access to all of the same kind of information and so they're going to make this decision.
Again, I can only speak to this from the viewpoint of a private citizen and from my perspective. Based on what I know today, I'm not sure that I'd feel comfortable voting for Roy Moore for the Senate seat.
CUOMO: But you don't need that seat the way the elected officials, and the GOP, and the president do right now because you are a private citizen. You're in a very different situation.
And we always welcome you and your perspective on NEW DAY. Thank you, sir.
GONZALES: Thanks, Chris.
CUOMO: And if I don't speak to you before, Merry Christmas to you and the family.
GONZALES: Same to you, Chris. Appreciate it.
CUOMO: All right, be well -- Alisyn.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK. When you think Silicon Valley you think technology, but what's going on behind closed doors? The parties, the politics, and the allegations of harassment, next.
[07:43:17] CAMEROTA: Sexual harassment scandals have rocked Hollywood, the media, Capitol Hill, and Silicon Valley.
In CNN's new series "DIVIDED WE CODE," we're taking a closer look at how politics, power, and harassment are affecting one of those influential communities in the country.
CNN's senior tech correspondent Laurie Segall joins us now with more. Tell us about your special report.
LAURIE SEGALL, CNN SENIOR TECH CORRESPONDENT, HOST, CNN "MOSTLY HUMAN": Look, we've seen sexual harassment play out in all industries.
Tech is what I know best. I've been covering it for many years and sexual harassment has been a massive issue for so many years. We're finally seeing this come to the surface, like all other industry.
I spoke to multiple women who are saying something happened. I've been working in a very influential tech start-up and they're saying we've had enough. They're speaking out for the first time. Take a listen.
ELIZABETH SCOTT, FORMER EMPLOYEE OF UPLOADVR, FILED LAWSUIT AGAINST COMPANY FOR SEXUAL HARASSMENT: Everybody talks about how progressive and so forward thinking.
SEGALL (voice-over): Silicon Valley promised to code solutions to the world's problems but it can't seem to fix one of its own.
Gender discrimination, sexual discrimination, harassment.
In May, Elizabeth Scott filed a lawsuit against her former employer, UploadVR. It's a powerful startup in Silicon Valley and it also had a reputation for its parties.
DAISY BERNS, FORMER EMPLOYEE OF UPLOADVR: I thought oh, these are young like me and we're go-getters.
SEGALL: Daisy Berns is another former employee.
BERNS: I was blown away by what I had gotten myself into.
SEGALL: Young founders, millions in funding, a party culture. It created a perfect storm according to Elizabeth's lawsuit.
SEGALL (on camera): One male employee -- we talk about how he refuses to wear a condom and has sex with over 1,000 people. Male employees engaged in sexual conduct in the office.
SEGALL (voice-over): According to the lawsuit, there was a space called the "Kink Room."
BERNS: You had a kink VR demo in there.
SEGALL: The lawsuit says male employees used the room for sexual intercourse during parties. Screenshots obtained by CNN show internal chat boards where quote "random sex sessions" were joked about.
[07:45:06] BERNS: I would, every once in a while, find underwear in that room and we would, you know, make jokes about it and have to clean it up.
SEGALL (on camera): But, take a second, Daisy. You had to clean up underwear from your office space.
BERNS: Yes, that was a part of it. Startup life, I guess.
SEGALL (voice-over): Also, according to the lawsuit, female employees were expected to act as quote "mommies."
BERNS: Women are viewed as the people that clean up underwear and do the dishes.
SEGALL: Elizabeth says she was fired days after complaining to a manager.
SCOTT: That was kind of the breaking point for me, mentally.
SEGALL: After seeing Elizabeth's lawsuit, Daisy and other employees sent a letter requesting the founders step down. When they refused, she quit.
Here's what the founders are saying now.
WILL MASON, CO-FOUNDER, UPLOADVR: I totally understand how a young woman just moving to San Francisco and then walking into an upload event where, you know, there was loud music, and there was an open bar -- I could totally understand how that could feel uncomfortable.
SEGALL (on camera): The very specific claims of these women were more than, you know, oh, I was uncomfortable at a party. It was oh, I was uncomfortable because I had to pick up underwear from the party. Oh, I was uncomfortable because there was a male employee talking about having sex with 1,000 women and not wearing a condom.
But I want to give you guys the opportunity to respond to that.
TAYLOR FREEMAN, CO-FOUNDER, UPLOADVR: Yes? MASON: Yes. I mean, I think the whole team has realized sort of the party culture nature of the company. We really put a lot of structure -- we established an H.R. department.
SEGALL: Were women expected to do tasks like the dishes, whereas men weren't?
FREEMAN: No. I don't think that we had the experience early on to recognize that shift in tonality (ph) that needed to happen.
SEGALL (voice-over): But for some women, it's just not enough.
SCOTT: This has to stop. If it's helped one person then I know I did the right thing.
SEGALL: The question remains, now what?
CAMEROTA: Gosh, Laurie, that is eye-opening. It's sickening --
CAMEROTA: -- the things that have been revealed in this lawsuit.
So, I know that behind the scenes you've been talking to entrepreneurs and to investors, so what do they tell you?
SEGALL: You know, I go to a lot of tech conferences so I always pull people aside and say OK, tell me what you're not allowed to say out loud, and I think it's kind of shocking.
I mean, a lot of investors -- a lot of folks I talk to, they say they're worried to take meetings with women after a certain hour or to invest in certain companies in case a lawsuit were to come out. Maybe it's just not worth the risk. They say there's a witch-hunt going on.
So, I'd like to say that, you know, now is a moment for women to come forward and talk, but it's also a moment for men to really have an honest conversation because it is very polarized right now. And I worry we don't want to go back to an era we worked so hard to move forward from.
CUOMO: That said, this lawsuit has some remarkable characteristics to it that take it way beyond --
SEGALL: Of course.
CUOMO: -- the norm of a party or startup or any kind of corporate culture.
CAMEROTA: Laurie, thank you.
Be sure to watch the special -- CNN special "DIVIDED WE CODE." It's Saturday at 2:30 p.m. eastern right here.
CUOMO: How about the weather? A little mild start to December.
CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes.
CUOMO: They keep telling us it's going to come to an end and you know who's saying that --
CAMEROTA: I hear him.
CUOMO: -- CNN meteorologist Chad Everett Myers -- not to be confused with any other Chad Myers. He's got a look at the forecast.
So, where's your dreaded purple now, my friend?
MYERS: Ah, they're singing "Turn Out the Lights" in Minneapolis today. It's 57 this morning and it will be about 15 by tomorrow afternoon. It's just going to get so cold. Wind chill factor all the way.
This weather is brought to you by Tempur-Pedic where sleep is power.
And it is going to get cold. The mild air is done. Now, we still have a few more days across the Northeast, but the cold air is on its way, and even colder next week.
So, yes, shopping weather is today -- tomorrow for the Northeast. Shopping weather for Chicago is today. And get it done with because the cold front comes on by and it does turn over to snow by the end of tonight into tomorrow.
New York, though, the high still on Friday is 38 so that's not ridiculous, but the morning lows will be in the twenties. Colder air coming in.
It's wintertime. Breaking news, it's here. Here comes winter.
CAMEROTA: That is breaking news, Chad. Thank you very much, since I thought that it was the 21st, but OK.
MYERS: It is.
CAMEROTA: Thank you very much, but to technicalities.
So, she accused President Trump of forcibly kissing her, so why don't you know about Rachel Crooks' story? You're about to. She's here, next.
[07:53:38] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, THEN-BUSINESSMAN: I better use some Tic Tacs, just in case I start kissing her. You know, I'm automatically attracted to beautiful.
I just start kissing them. It's like a magnet. Just kiss. I don't even wait.
And when you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.
BILLY BUSH, THEN-HOST, "ACCESS HOLLYWOOD": Whatever you want.
TRUMP: Grab them by the p****. You can do anything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Well, former "ACCESS HOLLYWOOD" host Billy Bush, who was in that tape, writes in a "New York Times" op-ed this morning that it was President Trump's voice on the "ACCESS HOLLYWOOD" tape, of course, despite Mr. Trump's reported attempts to change that fact.
Bush also says that he believes the women who have come forward.
He says, "I can only imagine how it has reopened the wounds of the women who came forward with their stories about him and did not receive enough attention.
To these women, I will never know the fear you felt or the frustration of being summarily dismissed and called a liar. But I do know a lot about the anguish of being inexorably linked to Donald Trump.
You have my respect and admiration. You are culture warriors at the forefront of necessary change."
Joining us now is one of Donald Trump's accusers, Rachel Crooks. Rachel, thank you for being here.
RACHEL CROOKS, ACCUSES TRUMP OF SEXUAL MISCONDUCT IN 2005: Thank you for having me.
CAMEROTA: So, what did you think when you heard Billy Bush speaking out, really, for the first time and he mentioned you by name and said that he believes your story?
CROOKS: Yes. I thought it was great. I was so happy that he came to our defense, albeit months later, you know. But, I thought it was wonderful that he was willing to do that and I'm thankful for it.
[07:55:04] CAMEROTA: He said that he imagines -- or I guess he said that you must feel forgotten. I mean, in this "me too" moment, from Harvey Weinstein that started sort of opening the floodgates, to Matt Lauer -- I mean, and I could just list a litany of men in between there -- Donald Trump is obviously still president.
CAMEROTA: Has -- what has it been like for you to watch this "me too" moment?
CROOKS: I mean, I think it's been great. I'm so thankful that other women are having the courage to come forward.
But, yes, I do feel forgotten. I mean, you can't help but wonder why people aren't talking about Trump and the people that came forward for him, and why is he immune to this. So it's been very frustrating and that's basically why I'm here.
CAMEROTA: So let's talk about that. So, in 2005, set the scene for us. Where were you working and what happened?
CROOKS: I worked for Bayrock Group, which was a company in Trump Tower, and I saw Mr. Trump regularly because he used the residential elevators that were right outside of our office. And I sat right in the front just behind some glass doors.
So almost daily, when he went -- would use the elevators, I saw him. And I guess on one particular day I decided to introduce myself to him.
CAMEROTA: And then what happened?
CROOKS: So, I knew he was a partner of ours so I wanted to introduce myself. I shook his hand and he gave me a kiss on each cheek, which was normal, but he held onto my hand and he continued to kiss my cheeks over and over again as he sort of inserted small talk.
You know, he asked me where I was from, if I was a model. Told me he had his own modeling agency.
But he kept repeatedly kissing me and then, finally, he kissed me on the lips.
CAMEROTA: Unwanted, forcibly kissing you on the lips.
CAMEROTA: And what did he say?
CROOKS: I don't even recall if he said anything after that. I want to say I think his elevator arrived and that sort of ended the encounter. And after that, I just kind of ran back into the office and called my sister. I was really upset.
CAMEROTA: What did you say to your sister? After something like that happens what did you say? What did you think?
CROOKS: I think I was just in shock. I didn't know how to explain it, you know. It was kind of like this is -- something very weird just happened and I don't know what to think.
But, it was awful because I remember feeling so confident when I approached him, like I know you're a notable person and that doesn't matter. I want to make sure you know who I am because I work for a company you're working with.
But then, it was just like this complete 180, you know, feeling so deflated that he thought I was so insignificant that he could do that. CAMEROTA: That's how you perceived it, that he must think of you as sort of what, an object? Something that didn't matter --
CAMEROTA: -- to be able to sort of force himself in that way on you.
CROOKS: Right. I mean, I really internalized that and wondered what image was I portraying that he thought he could do that to me.
CAMEROTA: And so often women do second guess themselves --
CAMEROTA: -- and they do say was it something that I was wearing? Is it something that I said? Was I being overly flirtatious? And you do all this soul-searching.
So when you found out that you were not alone, what was that like?
CROOKS: It was, honestly, like the first time I felt a little bit of closure, I guess. You know, I felt some relief but at the same time, I'm thinking there are others. That's not OK. How many people has he done this to?
But it really made me feel like OK, it wasn't me, obviously. It was him and this is a characteristic of his behavior. I mean, he seems to be doing this to a lot of different women.
CAMEROTA: At least 13 women -- at least 13 women. These are just the ones that we know of who have come forward --
CAMEROTA: -- to accuse the president of being grossly inappropriate in some form or another.
During the campaign you did decide to speak out --
CAMEROTA: -- and what did you expect would happen?
CROOKS: I mean, I thought people would take it seriously. I mean, being the President of the U.S. is such a highly regarded position, you know, and you want someone with, I think, a good character. And this is obviously evidence of not that, you know.
He certainly has some flaws and I thought people would -- I don't know -- take that into account at the polls.
CAMEROTA: When you say that you -- and we've heard from other women also who are the accusers of Donald Trump before he was president -- feel forgotten --
CROOKS: Yes. CAMEROTA: -- do you think that it's time to speak out more? I mean, what do you -- why -- to what do you account that you think the public has forgotten about these?
CROOKS: I think it's just evidence of sort of the political atmosphere these days.